September 28th, 2009
KwaZulu Natal is known for many things - surfing, warm weather and gorgeous mountains to name only a few.
But ghosts? Surely not.
But whether you believe in ghosts or not, KwaZulu-Natal is argued to be home to just as many unearthly beings as surfers...
Charlotte, the ghost of Nottingham Road Hotel
The Nottingham Road Hotel is an incredibly old building - so naturally it just has to have a ghost.
The hotel's oldest resident, Charlotte, is believed to have been a prostitute at the turn of the century. The story goes that she fell in love with a British army officer, but her feelings were unrequited. Romantics say she killed herself because of her broken heart, while others believe she was murdered to cover up her inappropriate feelings.
She met her end after she fell (or was thrown) over the balcony of her favourite room in the hotel - number ten.
Residents of the area, hotel guests and even passers-by have all had an encounter with Charlotte - making her one of the most "undisputed" ghosts in South Africa. She is often seen gliding around the hotel, seemingly keeping a watchful eye on everything.
Charlotte also has very particularly tastes and has been known to rearrange flowers to her own liking. She also likes to move mirrors around, some say in order to show herself off to her best advantage.
Those who sleep in room ten will often find their clothes neatly folded the next morning and are often wakened by Charlotte having a lengthy conversation with an unseen friend. She is also a bit of a tease and loves to ring the bell for room service to be brought to room 22, even though there is no such room!
Miranda, the ghost of Natal Training College
Miranda was the beautiful 19-year-old daughter of a high official at the building once known as Government House.
Her father's stature in the community came into question when Miranda fell in love with a lowly stable boy. They attempted to elope, but where caught along the road to Durban.
The stable boy lost his job and Miranda was locked in her room where she eventually died of a broken heart.
Today, she still mournfully roams Government House, casting a sad shadow on the students that now inhabit the Natal Training College that eventually took over the building.
The Traveller, the ghost of Ketelfontein
Ketelfontein house on Old Howick Road in Pietermaritzburg was built in 1862 and was originally used as a hostelry where the transport riders could change horses or rest overnight before continuing on their journey.
One stormy evening a traveller arrived with a horse so exhausted that it could no longer carry on without a night's rest.
The man retired to a room and pulled out a bag containing some of the finest diamonds ever seen. He had nearly ridden his horse into the ground in an attempt to escape the police with his stolen treasure.
During the night the police arrived and a gun-battle ensued, ending in the death of the traveller. After an extensive search, the diamonds were still not found.
The man had hidden them in anticipation of the police catching up with him and to this day they have never been found. But residents of Ketelfontein often report spotting the traveller desperately searching for his bounty...
Sergeant Bosch, the ghost of the Polo Tavern
Sergeant Bosch was a regular patron of the Polo Tavern, often arriving on his noisy Harley-Davidson motor bike.
One night in 1919, he misjudged himself and crashed into lamppost, just outside the tavern. He was killed instantly, but a photograph of the recent accident scene showed a hazy, fuzzy figure of a man climbing the steps to the tavern...
Onlookers, who were pictured in the photo, swore that no one entered the tavern while the photo was being taken.
Since then, Bosch has made frequent visits to his favourite watering hole. He even leaves evidence behind, forgetting to clear away his beer bottle and glass long after the pub was cleaned and locked up.
The ghosts of Alexandra Park
Ghosts have a fairly notorious reputation for being noisy and disruptive, disturbing our sleep at night. But some are actually fairly active during the day, just like the cricketers of Alexandra Park.
During the summer months, many people play late into the warm evenings - but often a thick fog rolls over the area and shrouds the entire cricket pavilion and leaving onlookers nearly blind.
This is when you should stop and listen. Soon you will hear the voice of the umpire proclaiming a "no ball" or the "end of the over". Soon enough other men's voices will join in the shouting, encouraging people to "run!" or "stay!"
When the umpire firmly shouts "six!" the grandstand echoes with quiet clapping and a lovely voice cries "bravo!"
When the mist suddenly lifts as quickly as it descends, there is no one there. No one knows who the cricketers or spectators are or why they only play quietly in the mist, but one thing is certain - it happens every year.
Intrigued? Book one of our affordable Durban packages and investigate these ghostly sightings for yourself.
Find out more about South Africa's legends with GoTravel24:
- Table Mountain Myths and Legends
- Cape Town myths, legends and mysteries
- Like you've seen a ghost...
- Mermaids in the Karoo
- Legendary Cape Town
- Gauteng ghost stories
Do you know of an even scarier ghost story? Let us in on it in the comment section below!